Today I’m sharing with you a wonderful slow cooker recipe that will surely plant itself onto your regular dinner menu.
I can spend hours in the kitchen with no worries, but this is not the same for many. Slow cooker recipes are becoming more common in our household not only to beat the heat, but because they are just so simple! Asian chicken drumsticks in the slow cooker sounds like a standard dinner, but you can transform it into so much more! Slow Cooking is the best way to get a delicious, quality chicken dinner on the table fast.
How to Serve Crockpot Chicken Legs
We usually serve them over rice but my husband has recently gotten into de-boning the chicken before storing, allowing us to take that chicken a step further. Wraps, pasta salads, pizza, you name it!
These Slow Cooker Chicken legs are also a perfect handheld snack option for game day as part of your finger foods spread. Plus they stay warm in the crockpot!
Can you use frozen drumsticks in the slow cooker?
While keeping chicken on hand in your freezer is a great idea, I recommend thawing bone-in chicken before cooking. Using frozen, you run the risk of the chicken not cooking all the way through to the center and drying out on the outside.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Chicken drumsticks – you can remove the skin or leave it on, it’s really a personal preference. In the recipe, I share how I get the skin nice and crispy after it cooks.
Salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes – seasoning for the chicken legs. Use sparingly; you can always add more seasoning later.
For the Sauce
Granulated sugar – Sweetness to balance the salt. Brown sugar also works well.
Soy sauce – for a salty, umami flavor.
Rice wine vinegar – for tanginess.
Tomato paste – for acid and flavor.
Garlic and ginger – fresh for the best flavor, but bottled and store bought will work as well.
How to Make Asian Style Crockpot Chicken Drumsticks
So now you know I am all about leftovers, but something else I am big on is being frugal and seeing how far a dollar can take us. Yes, boneless skinless chicken breasts are awesome and convenient, but they are also quite expensive. These Asian chicken drumsticks use a cheap cut of meat and transform into a flavorful dinner for the entire family. Plus, meat on the bone has more flavor AND reduces the chances of dry meat (but don’t let this fool you, you can still overcook any meat!).
Start by seasoning 2 and a half pounds of chicken drumsticks with salt and pepper and some red chile pepper flakes. This is about 10 chicken legs, and usually how large packages are sold.
Combine sauce ingredients – sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, tomato paste, garlic and fresh ginger – and pour oven the chicken.
Replace the slow cooker lid and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 160-165 degrees F.
Recipe Notes and Tips
Obviously your slow cooker isn’t going to get you that beautiful, crispy, toasty skin that oven-baked would, but I easily fix this issue by broiling the chicken for a few minutes in the oven. It takes little effort and really makes a difference. Place the chicken skin side up on a foil lined baking sheet and broil until crispy. Whatever way you choose, you will surely love these Asian chicken legs in the slow cooker.
Easily sub in your favorite cut of chicken here if drumsticks are not your thing. Cooking times will vary on size/cut of meat. For leaner, boneless breasts we recommend cooking on high for about 3 hours and for boneless thighs, about 4 hours.
Enhance the flavor of these chicken legs by garnishing with sesame seeds and sliced green onions for color.
Storage: Leftover chicken legs should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days.
Freezer: Cook completely, then place in a freezer bag and freeze for up to 4 months.
Reheating: Reheat chicken in the slow cooker or in the microwave. If frozen, thaw in the refrigerator first.
Arrange chicken in 6-quart slow cooker. Season with salt, pepper, and pepper flakes.
Combine sauce ingredients and pour over chicken. Cover and cook on low heat for 4-5 hours, or until chicken is cooked through (160-165F.)
Garnish with green onion and sesame seeds if desired. Serve over rice.
For crispy skin, broil your chicken until golden. You can also do this before placing into the slow cooker but I find the final broiling to yield great results.If you like, you can remove all the meat after cooking and throw it into a big batch of rice or use it for sandwiches and wraps.
Let us know how it was by leaving a review or sharing on Instagram with the tag #yellowblissroad
Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.